Published October 13, 2013
A top Canadian medical organization has barred members from performing virginity tests – and issuing so-called chastity certificates.
The Montreal Gazette reports the Quebec College of Physicians issued the decree after two University of Montreal ethics specialists were alerted by school staff to separate incidents involving the matter.
“Imagine a doctor who does a gynecological examination with the sole purpose of ... it goes beyond the imagination. And it’s degrading to women,” Charles Bernard, president of the Collège des médecins, told The Gazette.
The Quebec College of Physicians is, among other things, responsible for dispensing ethical guidance on medical issues for its many member physicians.
The Gazette writes University of Montreal ethicists were contacted by a clinic nurse after a young woman asked the health professional during a routine medical exam whether, “she was still marriageable.”
But by then, it seems the ethicists were already grappling with the issue.
Two weeks prior, the same researchers reportedly fielded a call concerning an adolescent whose family had forced her to undergo a chastity test at a local clinic.
The girl subsequently told her school nurse, who then contacted the university.
“We got the impression that the physician was pressured by the family in the emergency room. The father was very insistent about having the certificate, and to get rid of the problem, the doctor did it,” University of Montreal researcher Marie-Ève Bouthillier reportedly said.
The Gazette writes Canadian officials have focused on the issue of late, or since the bodies of four women of Afghan descent were discovered in Ontario in 2009. They were reportedly murdered by relatives in so-called “honor killings.”